The title is a bit of a misnomer. You can’t really learn to play without actually doing it. However you can learn enough about certain video games to be able to talk with your friends as if you did play them. Do you want to know all the secrets of a game, or how some people manage to beat hard levels or whatever, and then watch a video on the game in question. There are always videos made of your favorite games.
We’re going to take a short vacation from the ‘Monday’ philosophy and actually attempt to learn something. You heard that right, learn. I take it you want to learn about the video game in question, to that end, I propose you take down some notes about the game video you’re watching. This may be the only or at least one of the very few times we’re actually attempting something productive, but since video games are fun, and watching video games are better than actually spending the time to play, I figured it won’t hurt you too much.
First thing you’re going to want to take note of is how long the game takes to play. Usually if the video is what they call a ‘longplay‘ video then the whole game is played, and you can either write down the length of the video or the length of all the levels put together to get a good idea.
Next you want to see where people have the most trouble. Most people aren’t video game playing wizards and will mess up frequently and in fact on their own videos. Some are geniuses and like to document that with video, however, you probably want to watch the ones that mess up as well, after all this is research.
You want to note the interface. Granted you aren’t playing, so you may not know how the controls work, but then again if you’re researching the game, you know what platform and thereby what controls are being used for what. You want to note what kind of information is being shown on the screen. Is there a scoring system, levels, health, what kind of weapons? Is timing required, or is it story driven?
Some video games are known for their great stories, and some are not. So basically you want to watch and note the story. Maybe there’s not much of a story, and the story is really in the game play.
Now armed with this knowledge you can go into the game itself and play the whole game finding all of its secrets knowing just where people had trouble so you won’t have that trouble. I said the title was a bit of a misnomer. Well actually that’s not correct. You can learn to play games by watching videos of them, but you have to apply the things you just learned.
Since this is ‘Monday’, I’ll probably just watch the videos and pretend I played the game. Just make sure if you tell your friends you played the game that they haven’t watched the same videos as you have. That would be rather awkward.